Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in the Village Hall on Thursday 5th January 2012

Present:- Cllrs D Inskip (chair), R Winter, D Newman (arrived after item 7d), R Atkinson, C Sharman.

                Borough Cllr D McMurdo                                 Clerk B Gale                            7 Residents


1. Apologies for Absence

Received from Cllr Snowball.

2. Declaration of Interests

The clerk read out the declared interests of the councillors:-

Cllr Newman and Cllr Winter are members of the Playing Field Association

Cllr Winter is a member of the Village Hall Committee

Cllr Atkinson is a member of the Garden Society (formally known as the Gardens and Allotments Society)

Cllr Inskip is a Governor of Milton Ernest Lower School

Cllr Sharman is a member of the Village Fete Committee

Cllrs Atkinson, Newman and Winter have an interest in the Youth Club

Cllr Newman’s children undertake litter picking for the Parish Council

3. Minutes of the Meeting held on 8th December 2011

It was noted that apologies for Cllr McMurdo’s absence were not recorded and the Minutes will be amended accordingly; with this amendment, Councillors accepted these minutes as a true and accurate record of the meeting and they will be signed by the Chair after amendment. It was further noted that no mention had been made in this Agenda of dog bin removal and the G&T letter to Bletsoe. These are failings of the Agenda (to be addressed in future) but the clerk was able to assure Councillors that the dog bin issue was being taken care of and Cllr Inskip advised that she had had contact over the letter.

Decision:- to approve the amended minutes of the meeting held on 8th December 2011.

4. Matters Arising – for information only

    a. Thurleigh Road Layout and Signage.  Cllr McMurdo has continued to press over safety works in Thurleigh Road but has been advised that, because of budgetary constraints, no action will be taken unless authorized by the relevant portfolio holder, in this case Cllr Royden. Cllr McMurdo will pursue this issue and try to at least get costings for the work, including width restrictions.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to try to get safety work costings.

    b. Old Post Office Lane and other footpaths.  It was noted that the surface of Old Post office Lane was still in a poor condition and needed re-surfacing; Cllr McMurdo will request that the Highways Dept address this.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo will advise the Highways Dept.

    c. Church Green traffic.  “Private Road” signs have been requested from the Highways Dept but not yet installed; Cllr McMurdo will again be asked to progress the matter.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to progress with the Highways Dept.

5. Parish Action Plan

    a. A6 “Average Speed” Cameras.  Cllr McMurdo stated that a trial system had been announced for ME, to be funded out of this year’s Integrated Transport Budget although it is unlikely to be in place before the end of the financial year. Preliminary work is proceeding including liaison with the Beds and Herts police, and Siemens over getting type approval for their equipment.

    b. Village Street Lighting Plan.  Only preliminary results from the recent survey have been made available by the Highways Dept. The full results will be announced and discussed at the next meeting.

    c. Progress with Land Registry.  The clerk advised that he had received about a 50% response to his enquiry letter and that these responses were being passed to Geoff Atkinson for preliminary assessment.

Actions:- Clerk to progress.

    d. Progress on Allotment Provision.  Cllr Inskip advised that there had been a further exchange of correspondence with Bedfordia in which she stated that advice was being sought from the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners but there had been no response from it yet. Efforts to establish contact with the Dobrzanski family to investigate the possibility of locating allotments near ME Hall were assuming greater urgency.

Action:- Cllr Inskip will pursue the Dobrzanski family.

    e. Provision of glass recycling facility.  The overhanging skip issue had been pursued by Cllr McMurdo with the Borough. (Subsequently it was arranged for a representative to have a site meeting with the clerk to assess the best approach). The idea of a second pathway on the other side of the skip was mooted and will be pursued when the skip positioning issue is resolved.

Actions:- Clerk to progress.

Public Forum

Issues raised concerned:-

  • Mineral extraction in the village.
  • Herts & Beds police initiative on speeding – could this include mobile phone usage?
  • Could the freephone number of “Just Ask” be advised – 0800 039 1234.
  • Candidates for councillor vacancy (Named as Cristina Goldwin, Jo Williams and Martin Quince).


6. Finance

a. Financial Situation@ month end December 2011
HSBC Community A/C 18,511.09  
HSBC BMM 27.16  
Total 18,538.25 18,538.25
Income yet to be credited    
Total 0.00 0.00
Total Cash   18,538.25
Uncashed cheques    
D Tonks 230 538.35  
R Winter (Barclaycard) 231 83.99  
Total 622.34 622.34
Cheques to be written    
D Newman Litter 40.00  
ME Garden Centre 65.29  
Clerk’s Expenses 16.91  
ME Village Hall Rent 59.25  
Total 181.45 181.45
Total Committed Expenditure   803.79
Latest position   17,734.46
Ring-fenced Funds   7,071.77
Position at month-end exc. ring-fenced funds   10,662.69

    b. Payment Decisions.

Decision:- It was decided to accept the monthly reconciliation and effect the above payments.

Action:- Clerk to implement the above decision.

7. Village Welfare

    a. Biogen Power Action Up-date.  Cllr Inskip confirmed that all responses and objections had been sent to the Secretary of State and that nothing more could now be done. The Biogen Power decision is still expected by 19th January 2012.

    b. National Planning Policy Framework.  Cllr McMurdo will contact David Brewer to establish what response the Borough have made.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to progress with the Mr D Brewer.

    c. Replacement Councillor.  Interviews will be arranged before the next meeting. All councillors present felt they wanted to at least observe the interviews and the clerk will establish a mutually convenient date.

Action:- Clerk to establish a mutually convenient interview date.

    d. Web-site Developments.  Councillors now have their log-in details; further training will be requested from John Alsop to ensure the system can be fully utilized.

    e. Grass cutting contract.  Four quotations were reviewed; references will be followed up on the least expensive and a decision made at the next meeting.

Action:- Clerk to follow up references.

    f. Recreational Vehicle in Huntsmans Way.  Following initial failure, Cllr McMurdo has now established that both the Highways Dept and the G&T Officer have responsibilities in this area and will be investigating the situation.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to progress.

    g. G&T Sites.  Cllr McMurdo advised that at a recent Borough meeting the possibility of offering Meadow Lane as an approved G&T site was discussed again; he believes that the two remaining problems (noise and odour) will be overcome and the chief executive will be putting the issue to Planning by 26 March 2012. This site will have 12 pitches and, together with the Kempston Hardwick site’s 6 pitches, this will fulfil the Borough’s obligations.

    h. Christmas Tree Lights.  Cllr Inskip wished to record the Council’s gratitude to Cllr Atkinson for her work in relation to the Christmas tree lights.

    i. Street lights.  Cllr Sharman had advised the Highways Helpdesk of a light and a bollard not working in Radwell Road. Cllr Atkinson noted that the bollard in River Lane does not go out at night. The clerk will query this with Rob Fergusson.

 Action:- Clerk to query bollard operation.

    j. Litter.  At the end of the meeting, Cllr McMurdo advised that he would arrange a litter pick along the A6; furthermore, he will check out what is involved in a Village litter pick, likely to be organized by Cllr Atkinson with the school children (and their parents) along New Road.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to arrange litter pick.

    k. North Beds A6 Speeding.  At the end of the meeting, Cllr McMurdo advised that a group of companies had raised a petition with sufficient signatures to oblige BBC at its next meeting to discuss the issue of speeding on the A6 from the county boundary as far south as Paula Radcliffe Way. He will be urging that this be broadened to encompass all aspects of road safety.

8. Correspondence

    a. Childrens’ Commemorative Gift.  The Friends of ME Lower School are planning a play-ground party celebrating the Golden Jubilee and are asking for the Council’s financial support. The Council will consider this but are hesitating because of already anticipating commemorative gifts for village children. This will be re-addressed at the next meeting.

Action:- Clerk to advise the Friends.

    b. Village Events 2012.  BBC has requested a list of events planned in ME over the next year; the clerk will advise of the Royal Garden Party and Open Gardens day.

Action:- Clerk to advise BBC of events.

    c. Gratuity/Pensions for LA Employees.  The Council has been advised of changes to certain conditions of employment for its employees (the clerk). No new gratuity schemes may be offered although existing schemes may be honoured. All employees must be in a pension scheme although small organizations do not need to have something in place before 2015. As this date approaches this will need to be considered and agreed with whoever is clerk at that time.

    d. “Pavenham” Meeting.  An informal meeting to discuss a variety of matters of common concern has been called in Pavenham for 11th January for representatives of N Beds councils. There was concern that a number of collaborative groups covering similar geographic areas already exist and so this may simply duplicating efforts; however, Cllr Atkinson will attend to make what contribution she can and assess the situation.

    e. Structural maintenance Schemes.  Held over from last month, this letter from BBC details the works they plan to roads, footpaths etc in the village in 2012/2013 and asks if there are any further projects the Council would like to see included. The documentation will be circulated again for Councillors to consider.

Action:- Clerk to circulate the documentation.

    f. BBC Elections Invoice.  BBC advise that they have now calculated the individual village costs associated with the May 2011 elections and will soon be issuing invoices.

    g. Leiston cum Sizewell/Suffolk Association of Local Councils.  Some months ago this Council agreed to support these entities in their bid to get the Government to issue new tools and support to local Councils to help them assess major planning applications. We are now advised that constructive negotiations are ongoing to get the Government to issue the required official planning guidance.

9. Decisions on Planning Applications

    a. 11/02088/FUL Replacement dwelling, 9 Radwell Road, Milton Ernest; application rejected by BBC. Cllr McMurdo will pursue the question of the buildings safety and what the next step is with the BBC Planning Dept.

Action:- Cllr McMurdo to progress.

    b. 11/02277/FUL Erection of garage and annex, Ouse Bank Farm, Milton Ernest. Application permitted by BBC.

    c. 11/01647/FUL Erection of garage and storage, Stone Cottage, Milton Ernest. Application withdrawn.

    d. 11/02475/EXT Extension of time of App. 09/00215/FUL, change of use and erection of stables at Piggery Paddock, Milton Ernest. Following circulation, councillors’ raised no objection and this has been communicated to the Borough Planning Dept.

Decision:- To raise no objection to this Application.

    e. The Maltings.  Cllr Inskip had no new information but will invite the developer to a meeting to discuss any ideas he may have but the Council feels strongly that demolition would be extremely undesirable.

Action:- Cllr Inskip to approach the developer.

10. Reports from Representatives

    a. School Governors.  The next Governance Meeting is scheduled for 19th January; it was noted that the school swimming pool was now in poor condition and in light of the fact that it is very costly in cash, time and level of responsibility for a very short usage season, the possibility of removing it is under serious discussion. Should this happen, Cllr Sharman noted that a resident had agreed to remove it at no cost.

    b. Village Hall Committee.  Nothing to report.

    c. Playing Field Association Committee.  Nothing to report.

    d. P3 Sub-committee.  Now the “Brandon Strip” agreement is in place the Village work party will check the cost of hiring equipment to clear the site. Concern was expressed over the standard of workmanship exercised during grass-cutting operations in the village.

    e. Village Fete Committee.  Nothing beyond the last Council Meeting minutes.

    f. Neighbourhood Watch.  Hazel Snowball has agreed to take over the role of Co-ordinator.

    g. Youth Club.  No report.

11. Members Calendar.

12. Date of next meeting.

    The next meeting will be on 2nd February 2012 at 8.00pm.

The Chair offered her thanks to all attendees and the meeting closed at 9.30pm.

These minutes were signed as a true record of the meeting.

Signature……………………………………………………..                                Date………………………………

                  Mrs D M Inskip, Chair